By Timothy Miller
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – A suspect from Salt Lake City, who is said by family members to be mentally ill, was charged Monday, May 26, with the murder of her granddaughter.
Kelly Jean Lodmell, 38, is accused of kidnapping her 19-month-old granddaughter, Acacia Bishop, and jumping into the Snake River with her in a suicide-murder attempt.
Lodmell, who is described by authorities as being paranoid schizophrenic, allegedly took Acacia from her great-grandparents home in Salt Lake County on Sunday evening and brought her to Idaho Falls. A National Amber Alert was issued early Monday morning, following the kidnapping.
Both physical evidence and police interviews have led Bonneville County officials in Idaho Falls to charge Lodmell with murder.
Idaho Falls Police Sgt. Steve Hunt told the Associated Press their police department does not believe the baby fell into the water by accident.
“We have reason to believe that she intentionally jumped into the river in an attempt to commit suicide and kill the baby,” he said.
Federal prosecutors in Salt Lake City are also contemplating filing federal charges against Lodmell. U.S. criminal division chief, Richard Lambert, also told the Associated Press there might be federal charges because the case involved more than one state.
Meanwhile, rescue teams continue to search the Snake River for signs of the missing child”s body. Hunt said the child could have been washed over the dam into the river”s main channel.
Salt Lake County police officials told the Associated Press Lodmell has a history of criminal behavior, including an incident just last year in which she kidnapped Acacia before being found by family members.
Relatives think the incident would have been prevented had Lodmell taken prescription drugs for her mental condition. According to Lodmell”s relatives, she stopped taking medication for her condition several months ago because she couldn”t afford it.
Bonneville County prosecutors are still considering the death penalty despite Lodmell”s mental condition.